Retailers show strong mobile handset growth

Slowdown? What slowdown?The mobile phone market is doing just fine, according to financial figures from handset retailers.

The Link, a division of Dixons, revealed an 89 percent rise in connections over the Christmas period against last year, to 973,000. Rival Carphone Warehouse also unveiled strong sales figures last month. But the positive outlook clashes with gloom from manufacturers such as Nokia and Ericsson, who have scaled back their growth expectations for the coming year.

Both retailers said the replacement market for handsets was strong. They plan to continue growing by moving into Europe and taking over market share from smaller competitors, and Nick Wood, managing director of The Link, said convergence will add to demand for new handsets.

Industry observers have speculated that retailers, being lower down in the distribution chain, might simply feel the effects of market saturation later than manufacturers.

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